University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology

Curious Cabinets

October 8th-17th, 2019

Curious Cabinets is an installation project by the Weitzman School of Design first year graduate architecture studio situated in the Stoner Courtyard of the Penn Museum. As an interim project in a semester-long collaboration, the full-scale fabrications of Curious Cabinets house and curate a range of artifacts from across one of the world’s great archeology and anthropology research museums.

The title Curious Cabinets alludes to the early Renaissance concept of Wunderkammer - “room of wonder” in German - also referred to as a ‘Cabinet of Curiosities’. As precursor to the contemporary museum, aristocratic collections of art, zoological and geological specimens, as well as archaeological and anthropological finds, were gathered together to form a Wunderkammer. While the term ‘Cabinet of Curiosities’ today is problematic in current museum culture due to colonialist implications as well as its curatorial crudeness (in an age of specialized academic expertise), as a contemporary architectural exhibit, Curious Cabinets emphasizes the wonderment of the design of the “room” or “cabinet” itself.

Curious Cabinets Exhibition flier

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